Hello Luke! It’s great that you’re here, thanks for the question. I am sure that many of my colleagues would have very interesting things to say to this as well, offering different replies.
I think one thing that one issue that runs through our culture and many of the people I speak to is the difficulty to find, establish or found an identity for themselves. Without God, or even community, young people like me would be left to either find their identity in external things (we may call this idols), assert it and its value for themselves, or give up the idea of a solid identity. In all of these cases, the result is an endless race for definition and satisfaction, without a clear end, and depending on our own achievements or on the things we place our hope upon. Needless to say, these almost always fail, and they are never enough.
I think the roots of this problem can be traced back from the Enlightenment and modernity to our current post-truth culture, with all its issues. I see in many of the people I met a sort of fragmentation of the self, fueled by social media and the lack of clear goals and life-models.
I would add, however, that this big issue, which may well be related to the increases in many of our countries of anxiety, depression and suicide, presents a tremendous opportunity as well.
Many people are discovering that you cannot find or build your own identity; not in a satisfactory and stable manner. It will always fluctuate and one will never get rid of the shame and the fear.
But the good news is that God does not abandon us to our own self-definition. We are made in his image, but even better: In Jesus, “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”. This is most definitely good news for our culture. We can find a firm identity as loved adopted children of God. It’s an identity that doesn’t fluctuate or depend on our achievements, but much to our joy, it is also an identity that allows for our flourishing and growth, as it is not static. It is a relationship, and that satisfies our desires for being rooted and yet free.